tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN June 12, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
and an act of hate. the worst mass shooting in american history. i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. any moment we're going to be getting a news conference coming in from officials in orlando, florida. as of now 50 people confirmed dead. at least 53 injured. those numbers will almost certainly change after a gunman opened fire at the pulse nightclub in orlando at approximately 2:00 a.m. eastern. according to a u.s. official, the gunman called 9-1-120 minutes into the attack to pledge his allegiance to isis. on that call the gunman also made a reference to the boston marathon bombers. he has been identified as omar saddiqui mateen. he's 29 years old. he was born in new york. his parents are originally from afghanistan. we just received a statement in from the current president of afghanistan saying that
targeting civilians is not just defiable under any circumstances whatsoever. the afghan stan president offering condolences to the president of the united states, the citizens of the united states, and the bereaved victims. the president saying an attack on any american is an attack on all americans. >> today, as americans, we grieve the brutal murder, oh historic massacre, of dozens of innocent people. we pray for their families who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. we stand with the people of orlando who have endured a terrible attack on their city. although it's still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. and as americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in
resolve to defend our people. i just finished a meeting with the fbi director and my homeland and national security advisors. the fbi is on the scene and leading the investigation in partnership with local law enforcement. i directed that the full resources of the federal government will made available for this investigation. we are still learning all the facts. this is an open investigation. we've reach ned no definitive motive of the killer. the fbi is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism, and i've directed we must spare no effort to find out what if any association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. what is clear that s that he was a person filled with hatred. we'll uncover why and how this happen and we'll go wherever the
facts lead us. this morning i spoke with my good friend, the orlando mayor, and i conveyed to him the deepest condolences of the american people. this could have been any one of our communities. i told the mayor whatever help he and the people of orlando need, they'll get it. as a country, we'll be there for the people of orlando today, tomorrow, and for all the days to come. we also express our profound gratitude to all the police and first responders who rushed to harm's way. their courage and professionalism saved lives and kept the carnage from being even worse. it's the kind of sacrifice that our law enforcement professionals make every single day for all of us and we can never thank them enough. this is an especially heart breaking day for all of our friends and fellow americans who
are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. the shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. the place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub. it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights. so this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any american, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, is an attack on all of us, and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country, and no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us americans. today marks the most deadly shooting in american history. the shooter was apparently armed
with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. this massacre is, therefore, a further reminder -- >> we're going to break away from that tape. the press conference in orlando, local police authorities are about to update us on their investigation. >> the fbi, after this briefing we will only have briefings as significant events occur for the rest of day and tomorrow will provide additional updates. >> this is probably the most difficult day in the history of orlando. i want to thank all of our law enforcement professionals, our health professionals, victims advocates, counselors who have come to the aid of our community. while it is difficult for all of us, it is the most difficult for those families that are still waiting for information on their loved ones, and as difficult as that is, i ask for patience and
compassion and love. pulse remains an active crime scene and law enforcement is working the scene as efficiently and as diligently as they possibly can while also being respectful of the remains of the deceased. we are setting up additional means of communication. we have the hot line which is 407-246 h. 4357 that we mentioned at the last press conference. anybody that has a loved one that they believe could be one of the victims should contact that hot line and give their information so we have contact information when we're able to identify your loved one. aspire help has offered counseling services and can be reached through the zebra coo litt coalition, and we're setting up a website, which is city of
orlando net/victims. it will be updated after the next of kin have been notified. you heard the president and the governor is here. we have all the resources of the federal government, the state government, and our local government partners, all that they have to offer. our community will be grieving today, the next few days, the next few weeks, and the next few months. we need to support each other. we need to love each other. and we will not be defined by a hateful shooter. we'll be defined how we support and love each other. governor scott. >> thank you, mayor bdyer. clearly this is an act of terrorism. you can't imagine it happening
in any community or in your state or in your country. i want to first -- my heart goes out to every family member that's been impacted. i know law enforcement is doing everything they can to notify next of kin. get as much information out as they can. and they are working diligently together, state, local and federal. i want to -- i want to thank all our law enforcement for everything they do. they've done in this case, and each and every day. i've asked for all the citizens of the united states to have a moment of silence at 6:00 p.m. eastern time tonight to mourn the loss of life and still -- and also, pray for those that are still fighting for their life. and pray for all the loved ones. again, i want to thank the law enforcement, especially those that walked into that shooting scene and risked their life to save so many people.
this state is going to be defined as a state of generos y generosity, a state of love. we are a resilient state. we love people in our state, and we'll continue to do that. anybody thinking about doing something like this in our state, our justice is swift. our penalties are severe. we have a great law enforcement team and we'll do the right thing. we declared a state of emergency earlier today. i'd like to turn it over to the attorney general now. >> today is a tragic day, and we are making it clear anyone who attacks our lgbt community or anyone in our state will be gone after to the fullest extent of the law. today my office has been working. we've been bringing in victim's advocates from throughout the state of florida here to orlando. if you're missing a family
member or loved one, we'll be here to help you. you're hearing on a horrible, tragic day, the word love. that's what we need to do. we need to look out for each other and take care of each other, and we will be available as a community, as a state, and we've all received calls from around the country of people offering their support in this horrible, horrible time. our mayor has done an incredible job. the fbi has taken the lead on this investigation, and they are remarkable. back in the command center, watching federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors all work together, second to none in our state, and we should be very proud of the law enforcement, the men and women in uniform who are all working together as a team. thank you very much. and now the fbi. sorry, our police chief. >> good afternoon. just to clarify. we had 11 orlando police
officers that exchanged gunfire with the suspect and killed him. they have all been relieved of duty as is our standard of practice. we will investigate the officer involved shooting portion of that and we'll release their names over the next couple days. we want the residents to know we're committed to their safety. our officers risked their lives for the people and patrons at pulse, and we are committed to do so again. so at this time we're going to continue with the investigation, assist the fbi. our focus is on helping with the identification and next of kin. we're setting up a system for that as well. i also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the outpouring of support not only from local law enforcement. we've had multiple sheriffs from different counties respond, different police chiefs. everyone in central florida has reached out to us. i also want to thank the
businesses in this area. they have all stepped forward to assist law enforcement with food, water, and so we really do appreciate that. thank you. >> i'm going to provide a brief update as well. this has certainly being a trying today. as the day has grown, the level of support in our community has grown as well, and so i sincerely appreciate the broad support that we are receiving. we have a lot of work to do yet in this investigation. at just after noon today there was a national phone teleconference that was spearheaded by the department of homeland security in which law enforcement from across the entire country came together to talk about what we must do to ensure the safety of our homeland, because what has happened here was not purely an attack on the residents of
florida or the residents of orange county or orlando here, but this was, indeed, an attack on our nation. we appreciate the support that is coming from across the country in this effort. in terms of the orange county sheriff's office, we had three department sheriffs who were actively engaged in the rescue efforts that also fired their weapons. they too have been relieved of the law enforcement authority pending an investigation. what we typically do here in orlando is call upon the florida department of law enforcement to do an independent investigation of any law enforcement officer-involved shootings, and that has been done in this case, and so they will be doing their investigation concurrently with that of the fbi. thank you again. >> thank you, sheriff. just to reiterate. the fbi has taken the lead in
this information, but i want to thank every agency standing behind me and those you may or may not see currently that are working shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand to get to the bottom of this senseless act of violence. here are some talking points to make sure i address the questions posed earlier. ba bear with me as i go through them. we're gathering a lot of information. the individual believed to be responsible for the terror attack at the orlando club early sunday morning half identified as omar saddiqui mateen, age 29, an american citizen born in new york. redied in an exchange of gunfire with officers. the fbi became aware of him when he made comments to co-workers alleging possible terrorist ties. the fbi investigated the matter
nsk . in the course of the investigation, mateen was interviewed twice. ultimately we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed. in 2014 mateen, again, came to the attention of the fbi because of possible ties to an american decide bomber. the fbi conducted an investigation including an interview with mateen. we determined the contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time. it has been reported that mateen made calls to 9-1-1 this morning in which he stated his allegiance to the islamic. we're looking into any and all connections both domestic and international. we'll be as transparent as possible, but we want to be as accurate as possible. given the ongoing nature of the investigation, we'll continue to provide updates when information becomes available.
thank you. >> does that mean the 9-1-1 report is inaccurate at this point? >> there were 9-1-1 calls in which there was conversation between the subject and law enforcement representatives or dispatchers. that has become federal evidence. >> was there a declaration of allegiance to anyone? >> it is any understanding. it was general to the islamic state. i have not listened to them. >> the hospital is under heavy guard right now. can you confirm that? could there be a possible second suspect here? >> can i tell you at this point in time we don't have a second suspect that we are actively looking for. we don't know of any credible or singular threats that are facing the orlando area or nationally. we are providing physical presence for the hospitals and the victim assistance centers to
make sure everyone remains safe and secure. >> can you give us an overview of what the inside of pulse looks like? were there victims found on the second floor? >> that crime scene is still being processed, and i can't comment on -- >> he was interviewed twice by the fbi and then again in 2014 with connection to a known terrorist, the suicide bomber. how in the world did this guy get a statewide gun permit? >> those interviews were inconclusive, so there was nothing to keep the investigation going forward. >> but you had the echoes of terror, and he got a gun permit? >> investigation was closed. >> have there been more victims that have passed since our last update? >> do we have someone from the medical -- i am not personally
aware of any more. >> have family members been notified of the bodies that are inside? have you been able to identify them all? >> we're trying to be as respectful as possible of the deceased people inside the facility. as we identify people, we're making notifications, and then the police department and i believe the city are preparing a website to list those that have been made contact with. >> any idea how many have been contacted at this point? >> from the hospital perspective, at least six i know of, next of kin have been notified. >> is there danger inside of this club still for your agents and the fbi and the people investigating this crime? >> no. the scene is clear. like special agent hopper said, there's a lot of victims inside. trying to be respectful of that as well.
we have ask people have patience. the subject that i mentioned earlier was not under current investigation at the time of the i said dent and was not under surveillance. >> you have interviewed his family, i assume. is there anything you can tell us about the interviews? >> multiple interviews are being conducted as we speak. i have no details. >> what about his home? you were at his home. can you tell us what you're doing at the home? >> interviews and investigation. >> any word on where he got the weapons from? >> our partners from atf are here to speak to that. >> hi. i'm in charge of atf. i'd like to start by saying our condolences to the families of those impacted. atf traced the ifirearms. he purchased at least two firearms. he can legally walk into a
facility and purchase firearms. we're following up on it so i won't get into the detail as to the specific location of the purchase. but he purchased to firearms, a handgun and a long gun within the last two days. >> what was the suspect wearing? >> that's all the information we can release at this time. we'll provide more updates as they become available. >> any idea how long next of kin notification will take? >> we're doing it as quickly as possible. >> we just learned some more about this suspect, 29-year-old omar saddiqui mateen, including the interviews he had with the fbi in connection with investigations. apparently he made some sympathetic comments about isis that generated the initial interviews. he was interviewed but they
found no conclusive evidence. they said it was inconclusive as to any specific solidarity or sympathy support involved with isis. they did tell us that on this 9-1-1 call that he made into this terror operation he did express his support for, quote, the leader of the islamic state. peter bergen, he also mentioned specifically a case back in 2004, an american who went to syria for isis. >> this is fascinating that the fbi would be investigating mateen for his connections to abu saul la. he traveled from florida to syria, got training and came back to florida unbeknownst to the fbi until later. met with a number of people and went back to syria to conduct a decide operation for al qaeda. the fact that ma teteen was in
social circle of others recru recruited by al qaeda, i think it's significant. >> tell us why you think it's significant. the fbi concluded it was inconclusive. >> well, this is the only example of an american citizen recruited by syria and becoming a suicide bomber. the fact that the fbi was looking into who was in this guy's social circle. they may have decided that mateen was merely an acquaintance. they were in florida together. they were obviously -- had some kind of connection and the other was a suicide bomber in syria. >> art, you used to work for the u.s. marshal's office. it sounds awful that someone like this was working were a security firm that had federal contracts and investigated by
the fbi and was sympathetic to isis, and within the last week or two guys guns that wind up killing 50 people and injure another 50 plus. >> i think the normal person would think all the dots would be connected. unfortunately, that's not the case. these systems still don't talk to one another very well, especially the no fly list as compared to an individual purchasing a handgun. i think right now the bureau is probably relooking at how they conduct these interviews, the targets, who the individuals are associating with, and it is disturbing that this individual not only had associations that were being investigated but also worked for a company that had federal contracts. would have been at airports and federal buildings, and was also allowed to purchase firearms to
commit this crime. >> paul cruickshank, you heard with the florida senators said, that there are these reports that isis is now claiming responsibility. i know you're checking into that. we haven't confirmed it. what are you hearing? >> what we can say is there is an isis affiliated news agency that on its official telegram channel put out a statement saying that a source had told them that the person who carried out this attack overnight in florida was an isis fighter. this is not an official isis claim. but this is a claim from a news agency very closely affiliated with the terrorist group in syria and iraq. there were a number of things which were, perhaps, a little bit strange about the statement according to our own cnn translators. they used the arabic word for
gay rather than a much more abusive word they have used in the past, but generally this news agency has put out statements which are less abusive in tone than isis itself. so this was put out according to flash point partners, an organization tracking these things on the official telegram social media channel of the news agency. this is not an official claim of responsibility by isis. it is not isis saying that they directed this. but the news agency saying they have a source saying this man was an isis fighter. >> kimberly, you're checking into this and working your sources on all of this. it is pretty alarming, obviously. this is the worst mass shooting in american history. what are you hearing? >> well, still no word, as paul said, on whether this was isis directed, but it fits into isis's play book in places like
iraq and syria. when they start losing on the battle field, they attack in civilian areas. we've seen a rise in car bombings in baghdad and damascus. what we see on the battle field is isis is under pressure on several fronts. the town of fallujah within iraq is being encroached upon. they may be about to lose a town near the turkish border inside syria. if they lose that, that is being encircled right now by u.s. backed rebel forces, they'd lose their ability to traffic people and flies over the turkish border. and then in raqqa, forces approaching on both sides and one more place they're losing in libya, u.n. backed libyan forces there who are also getting help from u.s. special operations forces are approaching syrians.
and it looks like the isis fighters, thousands inside that city might flee. what you've seen in the past is whenever they're under siege, they want to distract their f w followers by making it look like they're powerful. they thought it would be an attack on the soccer tournaments in france. instead it was in our borders. >> i want to bring back art roderick. this investigation, i assume they're spending an enormous amount of time going through his social media and computers and going through all of his records, trying to find out, a, if anyone else was involved. >> yeah. the jttf is probably the backbone of this type of investigation, and they're comprised of about all federal investigative -- >> that's the joint terrorism
traffic force. >> that's right. and i'm sure they're all scrubbing their books to find out what connections this individual had. they've got a lot of resources at their ability. you heard the president mention that all federal resources are available. so you've got the full weight of all federal law enforcement agencies with the bureau in charge coming down on this particular case. >> it's interesting, peter. we've been looking at this statement put out by this isis affiliated, so-called news agency, and we've translated it. i'll read it to the viewers. the armed attack that targeted a gay club in florida that bore more than 100 kill and wounded was carried out by an islamic state fighter. our experts who have reviewed the arabic translation, they point out as paul cruickshank just did the language is inconsistent with previous isis announcements, in particular, the arabic word for gay was used
as opposed to their usual approach when they talk about the gay community. there was no claim the attack was directed, just an after the fact claim that the gunman was an isis fighter. you looked at this and studied it. what's your analysis? >> it's unsurprising that it looks like an after the fact -- there's no evidence that there was training. the fact is that this seems to be an after the fact embracing to the attack. this is something that isis has been trying to do, inspiring people around the west to carry out attacks. they don't need formal training, and this is the part we've seen in this country where people are not getting training by isis and syria as we saw in paris or in bru brussels. these were isis directed, owned, fn financed operations.
we're seeing something different here. >> i'm going to show our viewers another picture of the terrorist. there he is, another picture of this terrorist who killed 50 people at this gay bar, this nightclub, injured at least another 50 people. the fbi agent in charge that we just heard from referred to that case that we heard peter bergen discuss it, another american who from florida who went to syria, became a decide bomber. the fbi investigated mr. mateen as a result of his so-called minimal contact with abu salah, but it was inconclusive, in their words. it sounds pretty stark to me, though. >> well, there will certainly be questions asked about this investigation.
salah became the first american suicide bomber for al qaeda in may 2014, blowing himself up in syria. as peter was talking about, he came back to florida for a period of time, even after he'd spent some time in syria. both men from florida. at the same time it's got to be stressed that the fbi conducting an awful lot of terrorism investigations right now. they have opened 1,000 cases into suspected radical extremists in the united states. 800 of those cases there's some kind of link to isis in terms of sympathy. so they are stretched quite thin right now, the fbi, in terms of everything that they have to look out for. one extra point here is that over the last seven, eight months there has been a real drop in the number of americans who have been attempting to try
to travel to syria and iraq. up until august 2015, according to fbi director, six to ten americans were trying to go every month. that's now fallen to about one. but the worry has been that frustrated in their attemptings to travel to syria and iraq that they would launch attacks back home. and that's exactly what the isis spokesman called for on may 21st, just a few days ago, for attacks during ramadan and for americans to stay home and launch terrorist attacks against civilians. >> all right. stand by. victor blackwell is on the scene for us in orlando. victor, you're helping us better appreciate what's going on. i know you have a special guest who can shed some light. update our viewers. >> reporter: i do, wolf. i have with me someone with the
council on american lelgss care care. 50 people killed. at least 53 people injured. >> i actually woke up to pray this morning, and opened up my facebook account and saw the breaking news locally and my heart dropped. i have so many friends and colleagues from the lgbt community, and my prayers are with them. i know a lot of our friends were talking, is everyone okay? i've been awake since then. we're heart broken and disgusted. this is horrifying, and no community should have to fear who they are, especially when they're going out for entertainment, and they're in orlando, the city of beautiful. they disturbed the peace here in orlando. our community wasser theiz terr >> they have condemned the attack. there will be some who will turn their ire not to this specific suspect but to the entire muslim community, and we know that after incidents like this that
care has really strong concerns about the safety and well being of muslims across the country. >> we have concerns, but i think something as the gravity, the mag new dunitude of this, we're concerned about the victims and families and the muslims and central florida people are mobilizing blood banks and sending prayers. we're worried about the backl h backlash, but that's at the back of our minds. we're mourning here for the families and our friends and our neighbors. there is a 500% increase in islamaphobe ya with hate crimes and backlash. we are working with law enforcement, opd, fbi to make sure that we are -- we trust them and they've done a great job with everything so far. right now we're worried about the victims. >> reporter: you're worried about the victims. have you had any communication with the shooter's family? >> no. no communication. >> reporter: will you be
efforting that? >> i'm not sure. right now we're focusing on what's going on right now on the grounds as far as the victims here in central florida and being there for the community. >> our intelligence analyst back in washington is joining us from around the country have stopped about the self-radicalization. there's no evidence this was an isis supported attack. there will be some to question the muslim community's role in preventing this radicalization and what role leaders around the country should play. >> the muslim community has been the leading group of people that have been able to detect radicalization. the muslim community is doing the leg work. we need to do it as a team and country. when the planned parenthood shooting happens, it's the same
thing for the accountability for the priests, but just as the community together and law enforcement. swre to work together. it's not a responsibility of just one group. it's the responsibility of the country and america. >> reporter: thank you so much for being with us. >> i want to send my condolences to the families and we're here for them, and our heart goes out to them. >> as do we all. we're hearing from community leaders here in the muslim community. city leaders coming here, as this is now the scene of a d distinction, the deadliest mass shooting in u.s. history. an hour ago it hurts to be at the top of the tragic list. >> it does. and i assume we'll be getting, obviously, a lot more information coming in in the coming hours about this individual, omar saddiqui mateen. presumably where he prayed,
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we're following the breaking news. president obama calling this shooting in florida an act of terror and an act of hate. that sentiment, obviously, being echoed by officials in florida as well. cnn has learned the suspect, omar saddiqui mateen claimed allegiance to isis. mateen was born in new york. his parents are originally from afghanistan. we have unique special perspective on that part of this unfortunate story. hamid car sky is visiting washington and has come in to discuss this. this must be especially painful for you, mr. president, that the son of afghanis implicated in this mass shooting, the worst mass shooting many american
history? >> a great tragedy. with the families and the wounded, it's a crime we condemn in the strongest possible terms. we in afghanistan suffer from it daily and for a long time. we are with the american people on this. >> do you know anything about the parents who came to the united states in the 1980s? he was born in new york 29 years ago. >> no. we don't know. we just learned this morning that he was born to afghan parents in the united states and raised here. >> what would motivate, from your perspective as a muslim, what would motivate someone to ledge allegiance to isis, the islamic state? >> it's not necessarily a muslim, nonmuslim question. if you were born in afghanistan, raised somewhere else, it's a
different matter. but he was born in the u.s., and raised in the u.s., if there's influence from isis, we should look at the social environment here, whatever it is. ours or his own sickness or inclinations, we condemn it. >> you condemn it in the strongest possible terms? >> very strong. >> is there strong coordination between the after gan government and the u.s. government to try to learn about the involvement of others in this. >> this should be strong coordination and koorp raticoop? >> how significant is isis? >> it is a threat. since it emerged about two years ago, it's been a threat and killed hundreds of people in eastern afghanistan, and in northern afghanistan, a threat that people spoke about every day that people came to visit me every day after the sufferings
that isis cost to them. there were stories that they tore babies apart and killed people and burned houses. pushed people out of their homes in hundreds. there are people now in refugee in eastern afghanistan who are forced out by isis. so it is a force that kills and ma m maims and kills and pushes people away from a their home. >> president obama said this was an act of hate. he referred to the fact this was a gay club, a gay bar that was attacked. this individual, according to our sources, had expressed a hatred of gays. explain the perspective of an islamist radical and extremist, by the hatred of the gay community is so strong? >> well, we don't know what it was. if he has gone to a gay club and killed people and out of hatred,
it's still condemnable. whatever his beliefs or thoughts, he had no right to kill innocent people with whom he had nothing to do, and islam does not do it. killing is banned under any circumstances of this nature of civilians. >> but a tiny extreme element out there including isis, they believe that gays are violating islam and must be killed. >> that section is speaking for themselves. i am not a cleric. i'm not a religious scholar of islam. what i can tell you is what this man did, and for whatever cause, whatever his motivations, he was wrong, wrong, and we condemn it. we never accept or in any manner look over the killing of civilians. we condemn it in afghanistan and
in america and anywhere else. >> you've seen all the reports over the years of isis and other terror groups taking gays and throwing them off of the top of buildings, cutting off their heads, burning them. their only sin from the isis perspective is these are homo sexuals, these are gays. >> they do not represent islam, and, islam has views on things of this nature, but the killing of people only reflecting a hateful, criminal character. any killing of any nature that relates to religion must come from an authorized court, must come from authorized religious scholars and through an institutionl aura. individuals don't do any killing. >> you're the former president of afghanistan.
we remember the role you played after 9-1-1 when u.s. troops went in. if you could speak and maybe they're watching you right now, the islamic state, leaders of isis, what is your message to them? >> my message is to them is that they've killed a lot of innocent people in afghanistan, in other places, in syria, in iraq. now they're doing it in the name of their organization in america. it's all condemnable, and it's wrong, and they don't represent islam. they are against islam. >> is afghanistan, today, a failed state? >> no, it is not. >> because it looks like it's falling apart right now. >> it is not falling apart. >> you still live in kabul? >> yes. >> kabul is basically the only area that's relatively secure if you go outside of kabul right now, it's pretty dangerous.
>> so are other places that are very good. big cities are good. we have problems but the country is moving forward and hopeful, and you will see that afghanistan will be a good country. just stay put with afghanistan and keep helping it. >> is the problem the taliban, al qaeda, isis? there are so many threats internally in afghanistan right now. and from the u.s. perspective, this has been the longest war going back to a month after 9-1-1. >> well, you mentioned the taliban. the taliban are also fighting isis. they are deadly against isis. before the government began to fight the islamic state, the taliban attacked them. they are against them. the taliban does not represent islam or any other belief that we can accept. yes, there is conflict in afghanistan, and you know we have discussed it over the years, the nature of this
conflict in afghanistan. i believe and so do the afghan people, that if we put ourselves together, the united states, afghanistan, and our other allies in the right way and focus on the right places have extremism is raised and radicalism is supported and where the sanctuaries are, we'll have a solution to the issues we're facing. >> but so many years, so many lives lost. the u.s. still has about 10,000 troops in zpafghanistan right n. the american people look at afghanistan and say why aren't the afghan people getting the job done? >> we are getting the job done. we lose daily, people. our soldiers, our police, our civilians, our institutions. we are doing it. it's a major difficulty there, and there has to be a concerted and bigger effort in order to address it, and it takes us to the difficulties in the past.
today i will not talk about them. today there's a tragedy in america, and i want to be here to support the american people and to give them our best wishes. >> is there an element in afghanistan today, and be honest, that supports this terrorist and what in afghanistan or anywhere else will support this murderer. none. >> hamid karzai, the former president of afghanistan. i know you were here for the muhammad ali memorial services. it was kind of you to come on this awful day in the united states. >> my sympathies again. >> former president of afghanistan. joining us now, senator marco rubio of florida. he's a member of the intelligence committee. our deepest condolences to you, to all the floridians killed in this horrendous terror attack. i know you're getting briefed by authorities. what can you tell us about the
involvement of isis in this assault? >> well, let me say they've been very forthcoming. this is at this point, no real reason not to be. i think it's clear at this point, i'm safe in saying that this is an individual directed or probably in all likelihood inspired to take on this attack by some radical islamist element. this is the biggest threat our country now faces in terrorism, the home grown violent extremist. a u.s. citizen living among us freely. before he reaches the age of 30, becomes radicalized and inspired to take action like he did early this morning. there are hundreds of people like this watching all across the country that pose this threat. it's an emerging threat that's very dangerous. the hardest terror threat we've ever confronted in the history
of this country. >> what can you tell us about this 911 call pledging allegiance to the leader of the islamic state? >> my understanding is there was such a call made. i haven't heard the recording. he pledged allegiance to isis, not to any particular. that's irrelevant. bottom line is, this is not some confused or deranged individual. this is a terrorist. he knew exactly what he wanted to do, an ideology that calls for the death of the infidels and carried out this attack here in orlando. this could have been any city in america. my fear is we're going to see more of this. you have a very significant home grown violent extremist threat in america that continues to grow and very difficult to identify or stop. >> it's pretty alarming senator, this individual worked for a security firm for nine years, a firm that had federal contracts to protect federal buildings and
was on the fbi's radar, at least over the past three years or so. what can you share with us about that, the interviews, for example, this individual had with the fbi? >> well, i think there's two questions that need to be answered moving forward. how is an individual who twice has been looked at by the fbi, irrespective whether or not they were able to find links and ties, was able to purchase weapons and quickly use them in this way without anybody know about it. that's a question a lot of people are asking. i suspect it's about rights, because anybody can accuse you of anything. how can this individual work for a company that provides security. here's the problem we have. saying that you support the islamic state, even saying crazy things about islam and killing people, that in and of itself is
not an arabrestable offense. in some cases, they may not even say this to anybody. they may be radicalized but not really share it with too many people. and before you know it, it's too late. i've been warning about this threat for years. the home grown threat is the hardest target this country's ever confronted. >> the fbi says this terrorist -- this terrorist omar saddiqui mateen had direct contact with another floridian who actually is the only american that we know of who went to syria and became a suicide bomber. the contact was minimal and it didn't cause this individual either lose his job or the opportunity to go ahead and buy an assault rifle and a handgun. what if anything can you tell us about his contact with this other floridian. i know you personally are very
familiar with that case. >> a part of our oversight function in the intelligence committee, examining how that was looked at. according to the fbi, they didn't think the link was very real and didn't see a need to pursue it further. we'll look at that more carefully and see how exactly that was conducted. in many cases, the links you might find might be the fact that he visit add website. i don't know the particular communication they're talking about. there are hundreds of these sorts of investigations going on simultaneously around the country. in the weeks to come as we conduct our oversight as to how the fbi investigated this individual, we're going to learn a lot more and potentially be able to improve practices. >> bottom line right now, senator rubio, and i know this investigation is only beginning, what needs to be done to prevent
these kinds of terror attacks down the road? >> well, i think the first thing we have to do is be able to defeat or take away the capabilities of the islamic state and other such groups from going online and radicalizing people. they have dabiq and use that to up spire people around the world to join their cause. they call for specifically this kind of attack. this is exactly the kind of attack that they outline. go out and buy weapons and get a bomb or go into a nightclub or a sports gathering or a mall and kill people. we got to take away their ability to do that. i think there's progress being made there. but the bigger issue, isis may be defeated but that ideology is still going to be around. in the al nusra front, in al qaeda. it's going to require the islamic world to reject radicalism and discredit it as a proper way forward. that's going to take a long
time. unfortunately, in the meantime, we're going to have to continue to fight the war on terror. sadly last night, the war on terror came to orlando. >> senator rubio, thank you very much for sharing thoughts with us. once again, our deepest, deepest condolences. it's rocked the country. i suspect it's rocked so much of the world. senator marco rubio of florida. let's take a quick break. our special coverage continues at the top of the hour. ♪
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terror in orlando. we're following the breaking news. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we're staying on top of so many fast-moving developments on this truly horrific day. the developments in florida. also disturbing developments in california. we're following leads overseas on a possible connection to terrorist groups, possibly isis. right now, let me bring our viewers in the united states and around the world up to speed. this is what we know right now. at least 50 people are dead in orlando, florida, shot to death when a heavily armed gunman walked into a gay nightclub in orlando and started shooting and killing. president obama just a little while ago called this mass murder an act of terror and an act of hate. the shooter, a 29-year-old florida resident, born in n